Best Wood CNC Machines [2021] for Hobbyists and Businesses

Best Wood CNC Machines [2021] for Hobbyists and Businesses

Best Wood CNC Machines [2021] for Hobbyists and Businesses

A great CNC machine can make your woodworking production process smooth and let you make things you would find tough to do manually with any power tool.

Although there are many excellent CNC routers available today, the ideal machine for a woodworking application will vary depending on whether you're a hobbyist or if you're doing some serious production work.

I compiled this list after considering all the top CNC router choices for woodworking and evaluating them on a variety of factors like overall rigidity, carving ability, ease of assembly, drive mechanism, software, speeds, feeds and the work area it provides.

Further, I also considered the cost and production speed of these CNC machines, and based on the user it is ideal for, I sorted them into categories.

Here are the best CNC machines for woodworking on the market [2021] for Hobbyists and Businesses:

CNC RouterType
1Onefinity Woodworker X-35Hobbyist CNC
2Shapeoko 4 XXLHobbyist CNC
3BobsCNC Evolution 4Hobbyist CNC
4Avid CNC- PRO4896 4x8Small Shop CNC
5Shopbot PRSalpha 96-48-8Production-grade CNC
6CAMaster Stinger 3Production-grade CNC

Best CNC Router Machines for Woodworking-Hobbyists and Businesses[2021]

Best Woodworking CNC for Hobbyists and Home Businesses

If you're working on personal projects or if you're running a small home based woodworking business these machines will suit your need.

By home-based business I mean those that take custom orders and don't need to run their CNC for hours everyday.

It's not that the machines in this category are incapable of running for hours everyday, but if you have such production needs, you will likely recoup the cost of your CNC much faster with the machines in the next category.

1. Onefinity Woodworker X-35

Onefinity Woodworker cnc machine with controller and touchscreen
Onefinity Woodworker

The Onefinity Woodworker is a CNC router designed by keeping in mind the flaws in most desktop CNC machines and was launched in 2020.

Onefinity sells Woodworker in two sizes, the X-50 and X-35, the only difference being the diameter of the tubes used in construction.

I have chosen the X-35 as it is a perfect machine for hobbyist work and costs less than the X-50.

You can purchase it from their official website for around $2,170 and shipping charges.

Size and build

The machine has a 45.5" x 44.7" footprint that gives you a work envelope of 32 ¼" x 32 ¼" with a workpiece thickness of around 5 inches.

You can use it for carving out 2.5' x 2.5' wooden panels for beautiful artworks.

The work area you get is sufficient to cut wooden workpieces of 2 ½' x 2 ½'. As two sides of the machine are open, you could use wooden pieces of any length with a width less than 2 ½' as long as you properly support the workpiece.

The Woodworker uses chrome-plated hollow steel linear shafts for linear motion, which are better than the V-wheels on most hobbyist CNC of similar size and price.

This provides excellent accuracy and precision while making the machine sturdy enough to provide good cutting speeds for cutting wood.

Woodworker uses ball screws on all axes, which have less backlash than lead screws and better precision than belt drives.

Unlike belt drives on most CNC machines of similar price and size, the ball screws require lubrication.

Onefinity does not provide a wasteboard with the machine to reduce the packaging size. However, they provide clear instructions on making one yourself.

In my opinion a dust boot should have been bundled with the machine to tackle the dust generated during cutting wood. Onefinity offers a dust boot for the Woodworker CNC and it costs around $70.

Motors and spindle

Woodworker uses NEMA 23 stepper motors with 178 oz-in of holding torque. The Y-axis uses dual motors, which lets you move the cutter smoothly through the wood.

Onefinity does not provide a spindle or router with their Woodworker CNC machine. This gives you the option to choose a router or spindle that best suits the kind of work you do on wood.

However, Onefinity recommends the Makita RT0701C router for their Woodworker CNC machine. It will cost you roughly $100 and can be purchased from Amazon.

The controller also supports a VFD spindle, meaning you can choose a VFD spindle and control it without the need for other controlling hardware.

Controller and electronics

Woodworker uses a controller based on the Buildbotics machine controller, which uses Raspberry Pi. Buildbotics was created as an open-source project.

The controller is a computer in itself and does not require you to keep the machine connected to a computer to operate it.

You can control four axes using the Buildbotics controller that has integrated stepper motor drivers and can connect via ethernet or WiFi.

The controller can be accessed on a computer via ethernet cable. In addition, you can access it through your mobile phone or computer if you are connected to the same WiFi network as the machine.

You can control multiple Woodworker machines from a single device if they are all on the same local network, which can be a good feature if you are running a shop that needs to produce multiple parts simultaneously.

You can choose to purchase a 10.8" or 7" touch screen display for controlling the device. The 10.8" display costs around $107, and the 7" display costs roughly $73.

You can also connect a gamepad joystick for jogging the machine manually. In addition, you can connect a USB camera to monitor your machine.

If you want to create laser engravings on wood, you can add the laser module by J Tech Photonics which is officially supported by Onefinity and doesn't affect your warranty. 

These features give you a great deal of flexibility in operating your machine and with the right choice of software you can make intricate 3D wood carvings.

3D carving an eagle on Onefinity Woodworker
3D carving an eagle on Onefinity Woodworker

Software

Onefinity does not have a CAD/CAM software of their own for their CNC machines, but this can be considered a good thing as you are free to choose any free or paid software of your choice.

The Buildbotics controller comes with the control software pre-installed on the controller, which can be accessed via a web browser on any device connected to the same network as the Woodworker.

You can also check out some of the best software for CNC machines if you are unsure which software to use with Woodworker.

Assembly

The Woodworker arrives as four separate pre-assembled parts, which allows you to start cutting within 30 minutes. This is a major point of victory for the X-35. 

You have to connect the two Y-axis shafts, the gantry shaft and the Z-axis slider using a hex key and fasteners, which doesn't take much time.

Moreover, Onefinity provides excellent instructional videos on assembly on their official YouTube channel.

Connecting the wires to the motors and controller is also an easy task as all of the components are designed to be plug and play.

Community and Support

The Onefinity Woodworker is a relatively new product, but it is already a popular machine amongst hobbyists.

You can easily find solutions to your queries from the active Onefinity online forum.

Onefinity is owned by Kirbre Enterprises Inc. based in Ontario, Canada and the brand is known for excellent customer service.

Onefinity offers a one-year formal warranty on all of its products. A one-year formal warranty is offered on all Onefinity products and provides direct phone support for your queries or questions.

Onefinity is gaining popularity fast and challenging other brands to make innovative machines that are affordable. 

The long lead times for the Onefinity products is an indicator of its growing popularity.

Price~$2,170
Work area32.25" x 32.25" x 2.5"
Drive mechanismBall screw
Dust bootNot bundled with the machine
SoftwarePre-installed software for control
Warranty1 year

Summary of Onefinity Woodworker X-35

2. Shapeoko 4 XXL

Shapeoko 4 CNC Wood Carving Machine
Shapeoko 4 CNC Wood Carving Machine

The Shapeoko 4 CNC Router was launched in May 2021 by Carbide 3D as the successor of the popular Shapeoko 3 with significant performance improvements.

You can machine wood, plastic, and other soft materials with Shapeoko 4.

Shapeoko 4 has three versions, the standard, XL and XXL. I have chosen the largest among the three as it lets you work on large wooden sheets.

The XXL version is priced at $2,300, including the hybrid table but doesn't come with a router.

Size and build

Shapeoko 4 standard has a 50" x 41" footprint and weighs 165 lbs. You can cut wooden workpieces with a size up to 33" x 33" x 4". 

Carbide 3D uses custom-designed aluminum extrusions to construct the Shapeoko 4, which gives it good rigidity to cut wood easily.

It has a large hybrid table with T-slots that makes work holding easy and gives you a large work area. 

For linear motion, Shapeoko 4 uses V-wheels that are more rigid than its predecessors and can withstand dust and debris involved in cutting wood.

Belt drives are used to drive the x and y axes. Belt drives are considered to have less responsiveness and accuracy, but for working with wood, it is sufficient.

Shapeoko 4 uses broader belts that are 15 mm wide compared to 9 mm belts on Shapeoko 3, which reduces the stretching of belts.

Z-axis uses a lead screw mechanism. Lead screw drives have good rigidity and will let you make deep cuts on wood.

One of the major problems faced while working with wood is the amount of dust it produces. If you do not employ a proper dust collection and removal system, your workplace is bound to get covered in sawdust.

Shapeoko 4 ships with a Sweepy 65mm V2 dust boot. In my opinion, you should not just rely on the dust boot to contain dust, but you should connect it to a vacuum to remove it.

Shapeoko 4 with dust boot and vacuum
Shapeoko 4 with the Sweepy dust boot attached to a vacuum

Motors and spindle

Shapeoko 4 uses four NEMA 23 stepper motors to move the three axes. The y-axis is driven by two stepper motors instead of one, which improves precision.

The Shapeoko 4 doesn't come with a router. However, Carbide 3D has a 110V Carbide Compact Router with an RPM range of 12,000-30,000 that you can add for around $80.

With a proper amount, you can use any router. However, Carbide 3D recommends 65mm diameter routers like the Makita RT0701C. 

If you use the Makita router spinning at 19,700 RPM and with a depth of cut of 0.1" you could achieve feed rates of about 65 inches per minute on the Shapeoko 4.

Controller

Shapeoko 4 uses the GRBL based Carbide Motion V3.0 board, the same board used on the Shapeoko Pro.

You can connect the control board with your computer via a USB cable.

If you do not want to manually switch on and off your router, you can use the BitRunner accessory available for around $80 from their official website. This addition will let you control the router via G-code.

Software

The software programs that Carbide 3D provides with the Shapeoko 4 are the Carbide Create Motion Control software and the Carbide Create software.

These software programs can be installed on both Windows and MacOS computers, and the software integrates well with each other and provides an all-in-one software experience.

If you are a beginner, you are in luck as the Carbide 3D software programs are really easy-to-use and learn.

It functions as a CAD, CAM, Simulation and controller software, and the best thing is there is no yearly subscription fee.

However, you can only create 2D designs with the software provided with the Shapeoko 4 and can do 2.5D cutting.

If you want to do 3D modeling, you will have to purchase additional software like Carbide Create Pro.

With proper configuration, you can use any software of your choice to run the Shapeoko 4.

Assembly

Shapeoko 4 arrives dismantled and requires considerably more time for assembly when compared to the Woodworker.

The well-detailed instruction manual and step-by-step guide videos on Carbide 3D's official YouTube channel is of great help.

Community and support

Shapeoko has a large online community and are quite helpful with any queries.

Carbide 3D offers a one-year warranty against manufacturer defects for one year.

But what's interesting is their 30-day replacement policy, whereby Carbide 3D will replace any part damaged due to operator error-free of cost.

It can be helpful for beginners who might be afraid of breaking the machine while putting it together or during the initial learning period.

Shapeoko manufactures its machines in Torrance, California or Sterling, Illinois, and has a US-based customer support team, meaning you get quick delivery of replacement parts and a reliable resolution for your queries.

If you need a CNC machine that can work on 33" x 33" wooden sheets for under $2,500, the Shapeoko is a good choice.

Price~$2,300
Work area33" x 33" x 4"
Drive mechanismx and y axes: belt drive; z-axis: lead screw
Dust bootYes
SoftwareCarbide Motion Control, Carbide Create
Warranty1 year

Summary of Shapeoko 4 XXL

3. BobsCNC Evolution 4

Image of Bobs Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit with a Dewalt Router
Bobs Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit

The Bobs Evolution 4 CNC router, also known as E4, is the latest in line for Bobs, with several improvements to the previous E3 CNC router. 

BobsCNC is the most affordable, entry-level option for doing any serious work for a hobbyist woodworker.

Below the price of BobsCNC, you only get 3018 CNCs and some chinese CNC routers that are unreliable.

E4 has a larger cutting area of 24" x 24" compared to its previous version E3 with a cutting area of 17.5" x 15".

It has good wood cutting capabilities and is best suited for hobbyists, and small production runs with an affordable price tag of around $1,230 on their official website.

Size and build

The E4 has a 32" x 39" footprint and gives you a work area of 24" x 24" with a workpiece thickness of 3.3". 

Evolution 4 uses laser-cut wood for its chassis, and therefore it is very light and helps make it affordable.

The lightweight construction keeps the machine's weight under 50 lbs while giving good rigidity to cut wood.

The x and y axes use belt drive for motion which provides a maximum repeatability of 0.002", which is good for working on wood.

The z-axis moves on an ACME screw and nut, which makes it rigid and responsive.

It uses a self-squaring gantry that makes calibrating the equipment easy during initial assembly.

Dust collection is a major concern in Bobs CNC when you cut wood. The manufacturer does not provide a dust boot, but that has not stopped people from woodworking, there are a number of videos on YouTube of people making their own dust boot for the E4.

If you need to work on longer wooden sheets you can purchase the Evolution 4 extension kit for around $154 from Bobs CNC's official website. This upgrade will give you an extra 2 feet of length on the x-axis.

Bobs CNC E4 extension kit
Bobs CNC E4 extension kit

Motors and Spindle

The E4 uses NEMA 17 stepper motors with a 75 oz-in holding torque and can move the axes with decent speed while cutting through wood.

The complete kit comes with a Makita RT0701C router, a 1.25 hp router with a speed that can be varied between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM and is a good option for cutting wood.

You can choose to purchase the E4 without a router and provide your own.

Controller and electronics

The controller board used on the E4 is the popular Arduino Uno with the GRBL 1.1 firmware flashed on it.

You can connect this GRBL controller to your computer using a USB cable.

It comes with homing buttons on all three axes for easy resetting of the device.

Software

Talk about flexibility, the controller accepts standard G-code, and you can use any software to create the G-code.

Bobs CNC recommends using the UGS software to control the machine running on computers with Windows, MacOS, Linux operating systems or else from a Raspberry Pi.

With a proper choice of software you can use the Bobs CNC E4 for 3D carving.

If you are confused about which software to use, I have an article listing some popular free and paid software programs for CNC.

Assembly

Bobs CNC provides a good manual with simple instructions that guides you through each step of the assembly process.

You can also take the help of YouTube videos to help you if you get stuck. 

Community and support

Bobs CNC has a large user base and has a large online community who actively participates in finding you the best solutions for your problems.

Bobs CNC provides a 60-day warranty for their Evolution series products. In addition, they offer a 30-day refund policy whereby you could claim a refund in case you are not satisfied with the product.

Price~$1,230
Work area24" x 24" x 3.3"
Drive mechanismx and y axes: belt drive; z-axis: ACME screw
Dust bootNot provided
SoftwareAny G-code sending software
Warranty60 days

Summary of Bobs CNC Evolution 4

Best Woodworking CNC for Small Shops

If you're running a serious woodworking business but you don't need to run your CNC 24x7, then this CNC might likely fit your need.

1. Avid CNC- PRO4896 4x8 CNC Router

Avid CNC PRO4896 with the Table
Avid CNC PRO4896 with the Table

If you need a CNC router that can churn out large good quality products and fits within a $10,000 budget, the Avid CNC PRO4896 is a good choice.

The brand is known for the quality of the build of their machines.

Size and build

It has a 67" x 115.5" footprint that gives you a cutting area of 49.5" x 98.75" and allows you to cut wooden workpieces as thick as 12 inches, depending on the configuration. If needed Avid CNC provides table extension kits.

You can cut large 4' x 8' sheets using the PRO4896, which is great when you want to optimally work on large sheets.

Holding down large wooden sheets can be a difficult task which can be made easy if you use a vacuum hold down. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can help you build a vacuum hold for your Avid CNC machine.

The Avid CNC PRO4896 is constructed out of heavy-duty aluminum extrusions and steel plates.

The frame can support heavy loads and can be particularly useful when you decide to upgrade your machine in the long run.

For linear motion, the x and y axes use profile linear rails moved by a rack and pinion arrangement. The z-axis is driven by a ball screw mechanism which has no backlash compared to lead screw drives.

The y-axis is driven by two stepper motors instead of one, which removes the error known as racking caused due to lagging of the two sides of the gantry.

The precise motion systems and an all-metal construction give the PRO4896 excellent accuracy and precision.

You get a good accuracy of 0.005" with a repeatability of 0.002", which is more than enough for almost any woodworking CNC job.

The downside of Avid CNC PRO4896 is that it is not sold as a bundle complete with all necessary components. However, this allows you a great range of customization options.

You do not get a dust boot with the PRO4896, but you can always purchase a dust boot suitable for your choice of spindle. Avid CNC recommends the dust boot from Kent CNC for their machines.

You can choose from Avid CNC products or supply your own. I have chosen the NEMA 23 stepper motors, with a z-axis travel of 8 inches and the necessary combinations to give you an estimate on the price.

PRO4896 4' x 8' CNC Router Kit (NEMA 23 compatible and 8" Z travel)$5,575
Plug and Play NEMA 23 CNC Control System$1,545
4 hp Plug and Play Spindle with spindle mount and ER20Collet$2,179
Pepperl + Fuchs Proximity Sensor Kit$245
Auto Z and Corner Finding Touch Plate$130
Mach4 Software$200
Total$9,874

Rough cost estimate of Avid CNC PRO4896

Motors and spindle

You can choose between NEMA 23 or NEMA 34 stepper motors from Avid CNC for your build. 

In my opinion, for light production works, the NEMA 23 stepper motors would be sufficient for cutting wood and will save you around $100 on the four motors and around $1,030 on the controller.

The NEMA 34 version can achieve a cutting speed of 500 inches per minute with a rapid speed of 1,000 inches per minute, twice what you can achieve on the NEMA 23 version.

NEMA 34 will be a better choice if you need to address medium to high production rates.

The spindle I chose is the 4hp plug-and-play spindle from Avid CNC, with a speed that can be varied between 6,000 and 24,000 RPM.

The powerful spindle and motor combination can give you a material removal rate of up to 95 cubic inches of hardwood per minute if the cutting parameters are properly chosen.

Controller and electronics

You can either custom-build the electronics for your machine or purchase the plug-and-play controller and electronics from Avid CNC.

A good bundling option is to buy the appropriate controller for your choice of stepper motor, Pepperl + Fuchs proximity sensor kit and auto Z and corner finding touch plate.

The controller boards, breakout boards, drivers and power supply modules are packed neatly inside industrial NEMA enclosures.

The enclosed electronics save it from the dust generated during cutting wood.

Software

If you opt to purchase the plug and play bundle controller option from Avid CNC, you need to purchase the Mach4 software, which will cost around $200.

Mach4 CNC software is known for being robust and fast at providing instructions to the machine, making complex cuts on wood quickly.

Mach4 has a simple interface and is easy-to-use, it has a good community forum that you can turn to for any queries.

If you wish to custom-build your Avid CNC, you can choose from any number of software for CNC available out there.

Assembly

Setting up the Avid CNC PRO4896 will take some time and involves many screws for you to tighten.

Do not worry, the well-detailed assembly manual lists each step involved with figures and will guide you through the process.

Community and support

All users of the Avid CNC machines speak very highly of their customer support with a direct phone line in case you have issues.

The official support is based in the US and is highly reliable and quick. 

Avid CNC provides a one-year warranty on all of its products against manufacturing defects.

Avid CNC has a good user base, and you can find plenty of videos to help you learn and hone your CNC woodworking skills.

Price~$10,000
Work area49.5" x 98.75" x (8-12)"
Drive mechanismx and y axis: Rack and pinion; z-axis: ball screw
Dust bootNot included
SoftwareMach 4
Warranty1 year

Summary of Avid CNC PRO4896

Best Woodworking CNC for Production Works

These machines are ideal for serious production work.

By serious I mean you can run these machines all day, every day of the week and not break anything.

At this price range it's expected that you be able to work on a full size sheet (4'x8').

Therefore I have chosen the 4'x8' size versions of both the machines.

1. Shopbot PRSalpha 96-48-8

Shopbot PRS Alpha CNC
Shopbot PRS Alpha CNC

The Shopbot PRS can churn out quality parts in a short duration of time and can run all day long.

It is also the most expensive machine on this list at around $24,000. However, the costs can go upward depending on customizations.

The PRSalpha is proved to be good at making furniture, stagecraft, cabinet making and sign making, among many others.

Size and build

The 96-48 version has a 120" x 79" x 67" footprint with a cutting area of 105" x 49" and can cut wooden boards with thickness up to 8 inches. This means you are not required to cut down your 4x8 boards into smaller pieces unnecessarily.

Clamping down a large workpiece can be a difficult task, Shopbot has that covered with the option to add a vacuum hold down system.

If you are cutting with large workpieces, a vacuum hold down will allow you to place the work piece on the table and forget about it as the vacuum will hold it down in place.

Shopbot offers multiple bed sizes for their CNC machines, allowing you to choose one that perfectly fits your project and workshop requirements.

PRSalpha has a high-quality steel frame chassis with bolted connections which allows it to have incredible rigidity.

All the three axes on the PRSalpha rides on a rack and pinion mechanism, which improves rigidity and allows a very high traversal speed.

You can achieve cutting speeds of upto 720 inches per minute with a rapid speed of 1800 inches per minute on the x and y axes.

The rigidity and accuracy of the machine allow it to have a positional accuracy of +/- 0.003" under no-load conditions.

To control the dust generated during woodworking Shopbot provides a dust skirt which you can hook up to a vacuum.

If you do not have a dust collector Shopbot can bundle a 1.5 hp dust collector with your machine for an additional charge of around $1,500.

For a few thousand dollars more, you can add an automatic tool changer that will allow you to run the machine unattended for long durations and improve production speed.

Shopbot PRSalpha with automatic tool changer
Shopbot PRSalpha with automatic tool changer

Motors and spindle

The stepper motors used on the PRSalpha are the closed-loop Vexta alphaStep motors with low backlash tapered-hob gear heads on all three axes.

The closed-loop system ensures no missed steps, which improves finish and accuracy.

In a closed-loop system, the motor shaft position and control signal are cross-checked and manipulated to maintain high synchronization.

If an error is detected, the motor is stopped, and a warning is displayed on the monitor. The process continues once you reset the alarm and home the machine.

The most affordable spindle option that you can choose is the 220-240v 2.2hp Spindle powerful enough to shave off large chunks of wood.

Controller and electronics

Shopbot has a custom-made controller that is provided with their machines and is enclosed in an industrial-grade enclosure.

It has an integrated emergency stop button and a wired remote emergency stop button which enhances safety.

Software

The shopbot is controlled by its proprietary software called Shopbot Control Software and is bundled with the machine.

You will need a Windows PC to run the machine as the Shopbot Control Software can only be installed on Windows OS.

Furthermore, Shopbot Control can only be used with Shopbot machines. However, you can try the preview version of the software without a machine.

In addition, you get a VCarve Pro license that is worth $700 to use as your design software. VCarve is a beginner friendly design software for CNC machining and is really easy-to-use.

Assembly

The assembly process of the PRSalpha is quite complex and involves too many parts. It ships as a 4 module half-assembled box.

If you are patient, you can assemble the PRSalpha yourself with the help of the manual provided.

The gantry arrives pre-assembled and can be placed on the table after the table is assembled. There are no tramming or accuracy checks involved.

However, they offer to assemble the machine at your workplace for an additional charge.

Support

You get a two-year warranty for the PRSalpha with unlimited tech support.

They have a loyal customer base who praise the quality of the Shopbot machines.

The company ShopBot Tools, Inc. is based in North Carolina, and all the machines are designed and built in the USA.

They have an active community forum that will find solutions for any of the problems you may face with your projects.

Even Though the price tag is hefty, the PRSalpha is the machine for serious production runs when it comes to woodworking.

Price~$24,000
Work area105" x 49" x 8"
Drive mechanismRack and pinion
Dust bootProvided
SoftwareShopbot Control, VCarve Pro
Warranty2 years

Summary of Shopbot PRSalpha 96-48-8

2. CAMaster Stinger III

Camaster Stinger 3 CNC
Camaster Stinger 3 CNC

The Stinger III CNC machine from CAMaster is an industrial-grade machine for churning out wooden parts with high accuracy and speed.

You will need to shell out a minimum of $18,000 for a Stinger III with standard accessories. But it does have its perks.

Size and build

The machine has a footprint of 70” X 133 ” that provides you a work area of around 4’ x 8’ and allows you to cut wooden sheets that are 8 inches thick. 

You can work on the most common size of wooden board that is the 4x8 sheets, without worrying about cutting them into smaller pieces.

The chassis is constructed out of welded steel, meaning you do not need to assemble the chassis.

However, you’ll require a pallet jack to move this 1500 lbs CNC machine into your shop.

The X and Y axes are driven by rack and pinion arrangement, which provides excellent rigidity and movement speed. 

The Z-axis uses a ball screw drive as the travel distance is less. The PRSalpha uses the rack and pinion drive for the z-axis as well.

Like every other industrial-grade CNC, the gantry is moved by two motors to prevent racking.

The accuracy and precision of the machine allow it to have a repeatability of 0.001”, which is the highest amongst this list.

CAMaster does come with a dust boot, and for woodworking it is necessary that you connect it to a dust collection system.

Motor and spindle

Stinger III is equipped with a high definition digital micro-step drive system & high torque NEMA 34 motors, which can achieve a cutting speed of 500 inches per minute and a rapid speed of 1,000 inches per minute on all three axes.

A 3.5 hp variable speed Milwaukee Router is supplied with the standard version of the machine. In my opinion, a spindle would have been a better deal.

For woodworking, though, a router would do the job with similar perfection.

CAMaster offers several accessories to upgrade your CNC machine. The most noteworthy upgrade is the X3 upgrade.

The X3 upgrade will let you use two additional spindles, and as a result, you could use upto three tools without needing a tool change.

However, the X3 upgrade will take the cost of ownership to around $22,000, which is close to the price of PRSalpha.

CAMaster X3 system
CAMaster X3 system

Controller and electronics

For controlling the Stinger III, CAMaster provides a PC with Windows 10 PRO OS and a 19” monitor.

Stinger III has limit switches on all axes, which prevents the gantry from crashing into the frame.

Like all other industrial-grade CNCs, CAMaster provides an emergency stop button and z-axis zeroing plate for easy zeroing of the machine.

Software

For CAD/CAM purposes, you get a license for Vectric VCarve Pro 2D design software with the Stinger III. For 3D purposes you will have to rely on other software programs like the Fusion 360 or VCarve.

The controlling is done via WinCNC that runs on the controller PC provided with the machine.

Assembly

This is where it gets complicated for Stinger III. Due to the welded construction, it cannot be dismantled. In addition, the weight of the machine makes it difficult to get it into your workshop.

The assembly instructions can be a bit intimidating, but CAMaster can be contacted over the phone for any assistance in assembling.

Support

CAMaster Inc is based out of Cartersville in Georgia and manufactures their machines in the US.

They have a US-based support team and are ready to provide you the best customer support at a phone call’s length.

Speaking of support, you get free tech support for life along with lifelong free remote technician support with your Stinger III machine.

Just like the Shopbot, the online community at CAMaster is highly active in finding solutions to your queries.

They have a forum for their machine called the Camheads, which can be of great help in addressing your problems.

If you ever plan on buying a second-hand CAMster machine, do not worry about technical support. 

CAMaster provides support for its machine irrespective of who owns it, which is great and talks volumes about the company’s customer-centricity.

Price~$18,000
Work area49" x 97" x 8"
Drive mechanismx and y axis: Rack and pinion; z-axis: ball screw
Dust bootProvided
SoftwareWinCNC, VCarve Pro
Warranty2 years

Summary of CAMaster Stinger III

If you want more affordable options in 4x8 CNC Routers read this guide-Best 4x8 CNC Router Machines.

Buyer's Guide: Factors to Consider While Choosing a Wood CNC Machine

Work area

In woodworking the workpiece sizes are usually large. More often than not the workpieces are long. So consider buying a machine that can accomodate your workpieces.

Most of the machines allow you to use an extended table or allows you to use external support to work on long workpieces, but, the limiting factor here would be the width of the workpiece.

Drive System

The drive system used determines the accuracy you can achieve with your machine. But wooden parts does not require tight tolerances when compared to their metal counterparts.

Belt drives provides less precision but do not require lubrication and can work well in dusty woodworking environments.

The other type of drives can give you better accuracy than belt drive but for woodworking make sure the drive mechanism has shielding against dust.

Spindle/Router

Woodworking does not require very high torque but having a high RPM can allow you to cut faster. But do not compromise too much on power as it will affect the finish of the product.

Also, a very high speed and insufficient feed rate can cause burn marks on your wooden workpiece.

Dust collection system

Woodworking can produce a huge amount of dust which can get inside the components of your machine and affect accuracy. It also turns your workplace into a mess.

Check whether a dust collection system is provided or whether one can be easily attached to it. Most of the CNC machines come with a dust boot that can be connected to a dust collection system.

Software

A CNC machine can only do what it is instructed to do by the software that controls it. Make sure to go for a software that is compatible and easy-to-use according to your level of expertise.

Some software are best suited for 2D woodworking, if you intend to do 3D carving on wood choose a software that is capable of 3D CAD/CAM operations.

In case your machine do not ship with a software package, you can choose from a wide variety of paid and free software programs out there.

Cost

Consider the time cost and the cost in monetary terms while purchasing a CNC machine for woodworking. If you can purchase a faster machine for a slightly higher price, the time it saves you can compensate for the higher price tag you pay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best CNC machine for wood signs?

The best CNC machine for wood signs is the Carbide 3D Shapeoko 4 CNC router due to its large area (33" x 33"), software with in-built features for sign-making, specific router bits for sign making and intricate carving, and ability to make signs quickly with high accuracy. All these features make Shapeoko 4 the ideal CNC for sign makers working on wood.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNC's and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNC's and writing about CNC's for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNC's. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNC's and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNC's and writing about CNC's for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNC's. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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